Category Management is now an essential business process and a top priority for almost every retail channel and consumer products category. Category Relevancy – promoting and enhancing the relevance of categories within a constantly evolving world of never ending choices. Consumer and Shopper Advocacy – Building retailer and brand advocates by enhancing the purchase and consumption experience (known as the consumer shopper journey) derived from a more diverse and richer foundation of insights.
Category Growth – Vibrant, balanced (revenue and profit) growth, even in economically difficult periods, stimulated by innovation, marketing and merchandising excellence.
Planning – A similar but streamlined planning process has emerged with a significant emphasis the development of differentiated consumer & shopper centric products, marketing and merchandising solutions. Insights – There is a greater focus on understanding and anticipating every aspect of the consumer-shopper journey. Capabilities – Intensified business pressure and competition has required category management organizations to escalate their level of proficiency via better role clarity, enhanced organizational structures (including centers of excellence) and investment in competency development.
Over the past 20 years, TPG has led over three thousand category management engagements spanning 400+ service and product categories throughout the globe. TPG’s industry leadership and extensive experience has produced hundreds of successful client engagements covering every aspect of category management. As part of our Expert Insight series, Supply Chain Nation recently sat down with Gordon Wade, managing partner and director of best practices for the Category Management Association, to discuss the category management discipline, and in particular, the category management maturity curve as defined in CMA’s paper—Category Management Mastery: The Key to Growth! SCN: In your paper, you discussed a five-stage maturity curve as a way for companies to measure how they are doing in this discipline.
Wade: Companies are at various places on the five key attributes that comprise category management competence.
Wade: The first thing they need to do is to understand where they are on each of the attributes. SCN: A major requirement for Category Management success is collaboration between manufacturers and retailers, but that has been hard to achieve.
One of the major achievements of category management was to cause those manufacturers and retailers to step back and look at their common consumer—the shopper. SCN: You indicate there is a lack of Category Management expertise in many companies which hinders their ability to advance this discipline.
Wade:  I wouldn’t want to attribute an uptick in training and certification purely to the paper which we – the CMA – wrote. We are seeing continuing growth in the number of companies that are signing up, and within companies, the number of people taking training on the way to getting certified on one of three levels—category analyst, category manager, or category advisor.
SCN: Where do you think innovation in Category Management will come from in the near future? So the next wave of innovation will be driven, in my judgment, by the combination of these disparate data sources that will be enhanced by predictive analytics. In this process, my team and I had to do exactly what you talked about in identifying the common consumer: what was the end goal and how did our interests align in this happening?
Finding the common denominator and recognising the significance of that in category management facilitates a step change as both retailer and supplier suddenly see that they have a common goal – the consumer.
Key components of ‘traditional’ category management include range, space, price and promotion analysis.
Any good set of recommendations should at least get to store trial, if not subsequent rollout.
Category Management is about using yesterday’s data tactically to create a better ‘today’ for shoppers.
Category Development, on the other hand, is about looking strategically at the category’s future and where the future sources of growth are likely to be. We also train your people in best practice Category Management know-how via our FMCG Training programs. Whether you’re a manufacturer or a retailer, ShopAbility offers a 360 degree view on how to optimise your business.
With more than 50 years’ combined commercial experience including senior exec, CEO and Board levels with blue chip global consumer goods suppliers and retailers, our team brings best practice know-how in a spirit of collaboration.
ShopAbility works collaboratively with the following companies and their people – we believe they’re the best in the business and we highly recommend them. Using our insight and expertise, we ensure the industry and its employees are equipped to secure a sustainable future where everyone has affordable, safe and reliable food and consumer goods. How can suppliers communicate with and help the 33,000 symbols and independents across the UK? An exclusive event specifically for people in the first few years of a career in the food and grocery industry who want to reach their full potential. With sales in the channel forecast to grow 17% by 2020, IGD’s Convenience Retailing Summit 2016 is the event to attend to help your business maximise the opportunity. Through our research, we have been able to identify a number of positive trends, which reinforce category management as an increasingly important business process in these austere and economically uncertain times. One of the significant findings of our 2010 research concerned retailers’ expectations of supplier capabilities.
As a result, Successful category management remains the most popular workshop in the suite of IGD Academy training workshops, providing a foundation for people from a wide variety of commercial roles, from both retailers and suppliers. The importance of category management in today’s harsh and fiercely competitive trading environment was brought home in no uncertain manner to those attending the 2011 Category Management and Shopper Marketing Conference.
The team at IGD recognised that we needed to raise the bar by creating a learning experience which would sharpen existing category management skills and give experienced practitioners a chance to stretch themselves, to learn to take risks, while compelling themselves to really understand their strategies. There is currently a trend for what could prove to be unsustainable business models for suppliers and retailers with a heavy reliance on more frequent promotions and deeper discounts; the challenge to our industry is to continue to grow our own categories, but at the same time continue to offer variety and value to the shopper. Category managers are often at the heart of the business planning process and both sales and marketing teams rely on their category expertise to drive compelling business plans.
However robust the business plan, can category managers be certain that it will deliver the sales and margin growth required? With this in mind, the IGD Academy is now able to offer the next level in category management training through our Advanced category management workshop.


In developing this new workshop, we wanted to ensure that participants could easily translate their learning directly back into their daily work. The delegates also experience the challenge of making crucial business decisions using a wide variety of different data sources, including decision trees, shopper and market data. The workshop is a great opportunity to build your level of confidence in category management, really understand the financial impact of your decisions from a category, company and customer perspective, as well as looking at a range of alternative approaches. Suppliers are finding that it’s just not possible to have a strategic relationship with all their customers. A two day workshop that will get you started with everything you need to know to start practising effective category management. Our two day business simulation model workshop will enable you to understand how to turn the theory of Category Management into growth plans for your organisation. If you have a specific business challenge or training requirement, we can tap into our expertise and put together something just for you that will drive your business performance.
Get in touch to see how we can help with retail and channel strategies, category, commercial and supply chain excellence, future proofing and horizon scanning, and collaboration with trading partners. An inverted pyramid: the most info at the top (for the most recent job) and the least at the bottom (for the oldest job). But in the end, it’s a great financial planner sample resume because I like how the information is almost organized in a cantilevered, balanced way.
I like the way the type of bullets are mixed up, and I like how, in the career history, there are paragraphs used to flesh out the career descriptors, but bullets are used to highlight accomplishments.
The sample resume we have for project managers is designed to be broken up just like the career of a project manager is broken up: into individual projects and assignments. A career in banking probably requires a bunch of different skill sets to be successful, so this is a crowded resume. But what I like in this case is the use of the two column design to formally segmenet to two types of career info. The sample resume above has a good list of projects showing successful consulting projects working for firms and also as an independent consultant. All of the datapoints like certifications and education are bullet points on the lefthand side.
Supply Chain professionals need to show a wide range of competencies, so using a career profile AND an areas of strength section helps to explain all of the strengths this applicant brings to the table. I always say that when it comes to sales resumes, the most important thing you can do is show tangible results. If I were writing this resume, tho, I would not have used ALL bullets in the career history. There is a banner like header between the contact info and the body of the resume that serves as a qualification summary. Under the actual qualification category, there are some solid bullet points that highlight the job seeker’s certifications, years of experience and keywords. Its impact on the consumer, the shopper, the industry’s methods of business planning and manufacturer-retailer collaboration is unparalleled.
Reviving mature and declining categories, accelerating penetration and consumption of new and emerging categories. Successful practitioners have also linked this process to other key planning processes like joint business planning, shopper marketing and portfolio planning.
As such, best practices utilize and synthesize a diversity of data and proprietary research to discover a better way to build category and brand advocacy.
TPG has authored 25 publications and industry reports on best practices and is considered the pioneer for mobilizing category management globally. Where do you feel the majority of companies are at on this curve, and why do you think this is so? For example, some companies have enormous amounts of data, but aren’t very good at analytics.
The C-suite usually isn’t very knowledgeable about category management because they did not come up through the discipline. A company I founded created category management in the early 1990s working with the industry committee known as ECR, efficient consumer response, a committee of retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers and brokers. Since your paper came out, have you seen an uptick in interest in training or your certification programs? There are specific competencies that people must demonstrate at each of these levels which are tied to specific training regimens. We are creating and collecting more data every day than any one person could consume in a lifetime. As a supply chain major at the McCombs School of Business, category management is a much-talked about topic. If the company continues to collect data, then it can have a better picture of where it should procure its resources. Though it was difficult at times, engaging in conversations with suppliers of our product, our team emerged with a healthy understanding of how to optimize our contracts for the end goal, the general public. Like you said, the C-Suite isn’t all that full of people with an operations background, and it is exciting going through school knowing that this is a fun and exciting field that is quickly gaining interest and importance in the business world. It’s a key hygiene factor in what shoppers see at shelf, and a passive contributor to ‘Shopper Marketing’. Category Insight Manager Simon Attfield gives his top four tips to providing category management support for independent stores.
Operational, tactical and strategic, whether it’s about range and assortment, pricing or promotions – all these areas hinge on producing the right result.
All suppliers need to have some degree of category management capability; the challenge is to have the appropriate resources, the right structure and fully trained people in the commercial team to turn data into insight.
Speakers from retailers and suppliers were reassuringly open, honest and candid about the current and future challenges facing the industry. Combining these skills will help category managers to deliver the maximum return for their companies.


This two day event recreates a true-to-life category environment and requires business decision-making in a controlled, competitive and challenging arena.
As a result, the workshop is underpinned by a business simulation game, over several decision-making rounds. From this, they will be asked to develop their team’s category vision and strategies in order to deliver results for their category scorecard. The reality is that those suppliers who meet and exceed retailer expectations by having category teams with high levels of skills and competencies will be better placed to succeed in the long run.
It’s for a recent grad, so the education section is more prominent than I would normally like. These are bold, eye-catching bullets that allow the jobseeker to highlight core competencies that they feel are most important in terms of selling their qualifications. As long as you don’t overdo it, horizontal, vertical lines, and even boxes, can help you organize your data. It’s the same design as the Supply Chain Manager sample resume we profiled a few weeks ago. Education and career history are on the righthand side, telling a compelling narrative of experience as an Optical Engineer. The career history is on it’s own on the righthand side which allows the job seeker to tell his career history comprehensively. You’ll hopefully want the numbers to grow and be more impressive with each successive position. They showed not only what sorts of sales they specialize in, but also what specific skills relating to the sales game they have mastery of.
I prefer normal paragraphs to describe the job, and use bullets only to highlight specific results. In two lines, the jobseeker has explained who they are are the type of job they’re interested in.
As a critical practice within the industry, category management has evolved through the combination of accumulated learning, changing industry conditions and new opportunities.
So they need to understand what the attributes are and ascertain where they are on each of these attributes. But the fact of the matter is that there is a significant uptick in interest in training and certification.
This is helpful when evaluating candidates to understand what kind of training they have received. But with that data comes the opportunity to really understand our businesses and our customers like never before. Each round has been designed to recreate a competitive real world scenario and allows delegates to explore different strategies and tactics. Notice that this resume does that right up front, listing a comprehensive number of basic skills key for the job.
If you’re a financial planner with some career history, move the education section down to the end. For an IT career like optical engineering, a hiring manager might first need to make sure the candidate meets certain technical qualifications before they move on to consider experience. You want your career history to tell a story… a story of improving and impressive results. Additional bullet points below each job list tangible accomplishments (using real numbers like dollar figures and percentages) to show that the applicant can get results and has a proven track record of success. Today, the best practices of category management are delivering profound results and, ultimately “Category Leadership” for manufacturers and retailers alike. So if you think of the maturity curve as measured across the five attributes, some companies are quite advanced in one of the attributes, but may be relatively weak on another attribute. We are seeing a lot of companies signing up for certification—in some cases small companies are certifying four people and large companies are certifying as many as 30 people—who all go through a battery of training modules.
It‘s an objective measure where we can say this person has passed these 10 courses which lead to these 10 competencies.
This would allow them to do so at a glance, before they move on to the career history section. However, on the whole companies tend to march ahead in reasonable lockstep across the five attributes such that companies that are pretty good at data tend to be reasonably good at analytics.
They can look at an attribute, such as analytics, and see there are 4-5 characteristics of analytics maturity. They saw any discussions as sort of a wrestling match over a 100 cent dollar—if I get 51 cents, you get 49 cents. What category management said was stop worrying about yourself and start focusing on bringing better value to that shopper. If you do, you will grow that 100 cent dollar to a 110 cent dollar and there will be more for both of you.
That message of engendering cooperation was the single most important thing that category management did.
To get a legal license you have to pass the board exams in the state where you want to practice. Thus, the first thing the C-suite has to do is a self-analysis of the attributes and characteristics so they can find out where they are, and can begin to develop a program that will help them improve in any area where they are not precisely where they would like to be on the maturity curve. We tell them what they have to pass in order to be certified and they develop the training programs designed to meet those standards. Right now about 90-95 percent of the third party category management training capacity in the United States trains to CMA’s certification standards.



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